Decorating homes on a budget

Marisa Hildebrand

Many family traditions include some variation of a pricy tree piled high with ornaments, garland strung from the staircase and miles of extension cords to light the house at night; but many students starting out with their first place don’t have that kind of budget.

Decorating for the holidays does not always have to mean spending big bucks.

Thanks to Pinterest, Dollar Stores and plain ingenuity, students can decorate like mom on nearly every budget.

Fabric banners are an inexpensive way to spruce up a blank wall or add some festive flare to a window. Each banner requires half a yard of four different fabrics and some durable string like hemp.

From there, all that needs to be done is tear off small sections of the fabric into strips and tie them onto the string to create a banner for the season.

Students can use any print of fabric, from holiday snowmen, to silver and gold sparkle, to snow-like lace to create the seasonal banner desired. With some holiday fabric priced at $3.99/foot, a holiday banner can be a better alternative to fresh holiday garland.

Another way to save some money this holiday season is to skip on the Christmas tree.

Senior communication studies major Jira Taylor is a crafter in her spare time and suggests students take advantage of nature.

“Use things around you,” Taylor said. “Like evergreen tree bows … and neighbors who have trees with pinecones.”

Taylor said students can easily clip the low-hanging boughs of evergreen trees in their backyards, or ask neighbors, and hang ornaments and ribbons from them as a sash on a staircase, or decorate pinecones with glitter to add some holiday sparkle.

Try snagging some scented candles on sale to help the apartment smell like the holidays, or follow Taylor’s advice and stick an orange peel, cloves and cinnamon in a boiling pot of water to release the classic holiday aroma.

But, as far as the holiday twinkle of stringed lights go, almost nothing can compare.

String lights help put the glisten into the holiday season, and purchasing a single set of white or multicolored string lights is a great investment to help an apartment feel more like home.

Hanging string lights from the corners of a living room wall and placing a few inexpensive ornaments here and there is a way to bring in sparkle without busting a budget.

Junior communication studies major Nicole Rambo is more creative than most around the holiday season, and made her own ornaments this year.

She bought clear ornaments and stuffed them with pictures of her family, faux pearls and crocheted a cuff for the top.

Rambo also took advantage of her free resources from nature.

“We have a holly tree in front of our house,” Rambo said. “The neighbor makes holly wreaths and is going to show us how this year.”

Rambo even has some clever ways to save on gifts this year and made lemon preserves and plum jam to wrap up on Christmas.

No matter the budget, students can find new ways to decorate small apartments for the holidays and help them feel more like home.